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The question that will unlock a world of opportunities

This morning I woke up relaxed and calm as I am taking a break to write down and reflect in a far away beautiful island. I got my breakfast and morning coffee... all ready to enjoy the perfect start for a blue-sky sunny day. During the first sip from the aromatic coffee I saw a headline from the International New York Times that captured my attention. It was an interview to the former BlackBerry chiefs, opening up on how their company fell before iPhone.*

One of the questions was about how was their initial reaction to the iPhone. Ms. McNish replied as part of her answer: “…The first thing Mike Lazaridis said when he saw an iPhone at home is that this will never work, the network can’t sustain it.”

How many times have you heard the words “This will never work!”? The perfect 4 words sentence to shut down any good idea. Because it’s usually from good ideas where we don’t have the answers on how to do it. Automatically we initiate a “reality check”, and we start to use existing knowledge to assume nothing will be modified. Therefore the direct implementation of the idea wouldn’t work. Which is true. The same conclusion directs us towards the need to create something new to make that idea work, to innovate.

Mr. Lazaridis didn't see the reason why he thought the iPhone would fail, but he just pointed out at the single biggest opportunity Apple had to unlock to guarantee the future success of its new product. And they were well aware of it, just check on their first breakthrough deal with AT&T and how that forced carriers to start to develop better networks.

How Steve Jobs saw that challenge changed forever the way we experience our smartphones nowadays. The vision was very clear for him and his team, so there was only one question to answer. What would have to happen so the needed network for the consumers is developed by the carriers?

David Rock wrote that we have two modes – away and towards. When we do not lean towards anything our unconscious mind considers as threat. So turning that “away” moment into a “towards” situation, all we can find are opportunities.

What would have to happen…?

The first thing to notice is the clarity of the final vision. It is key for the use of this powerful question to have a clear picture of what wants to be achieved. Having no doubt that you will reach success will bring more clarity later on the reflection process.

When asking “What would have to happen so X becomes possible?” forces you to see all the opportunities and areas which need to be cleared before reaching that final destination. You will find yourself turning all those negative points around why this won’t work into what needs to be done to make it work.

So here you have it, the simple question to give you multiple answers from yourself and those around you. The same inputs which you can use later on to build a plan to reach that future wanted state. Notice that after this simple exercise you will have a perception about the actual situation, the final vision to reach and the needed areas to tackle in order to reach success. Isn’t that cool?

The story of Apple, Netflix and other game changers goes beyond what they did. It is a true inspiration to observe how visionary people keep on asking themselves over and over again the same question. They don’t want to hear all the reasons why something won’t work. The only thing to find out is what needs to happen so it does work. Simple, unique and mind opening. Just notice what happened to Black Berry, Kodak, Blockbuster, Nokia and many other past times big players.

So here is my question for you, what would have to happen for you to unleash all great opportunities coming ahead?


* International New York Times – Tuesday, May 26th 2105 Page 16

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